Top Healthcare and Revenue Cycle Services Trends to Watch for in 2018

AUTHORS: Manish Jain and Scott Schrader, Access Healthcare.

2017 required healthcare organizations to respond to several new challenges – political change, growing role of technology, shift to value-based care and the increasing role of information security. While we anticipate that these issues will continue to influence through 2018, we will also see new challenges. The blurring lines between providers and payers, a refocusing on care (and more so on the patient), and a changing policy environment will occupy the center stage for 2018. 

Here are some of the top trends that we believe will be in focus in 2018:

  1. It’s in the cloud.  Market share of cloud based RCM and EMR systems will continue to increase in the physician space. We see disruption in the form of cloud based systems in the hospital revenue cycle space as well.
  2. The machines have gotten intelligent and are ready to help you with your front and back-office needs. Artificial Intelligence and machine learning based process automation solutions will bring innovative solutions to the front and back-offices of healthcare providers.
  3. Care is about the patient - Time to revisit the basics.  In 2018, the focus of healthcare will shift back to how to deliver care more effectively and seamlessly. As the back-office shifts to offshore and machines, there will be investments and a new focus on improving the patient experience through preventive care outreach, through registration and care at the healthcare system, discharge, and post-discharge coordination. 
  4. Healthcare reform.  According to market watchers, the biggest potential disruptor could be a change in healthcare funding for Medicare / Medicaid programs. 
  5. Are you delivering value? As the lines blur between payers, providers, and  other participants in the healthcare chain, we see intensified consolidation activity, some as game-changing as the CVS-Anthem mega deal, leading to significant changes in the way healthcare is delivered. This will require all market participants to re-evaluate their roles in the healthcare value chain.
  6. Role of security technologies.  As with all businesses worldwide, Healthcare businesses will be forced to contend with cyber-threats. Cyber-security will become a top priority for CIOs and CTOs of healthcare organizations.
  7. It’s about analytics.  The impact of social and demographic variables on the health of a population segment will drive the need for focused local and long-term fixes, leading to a healthier population.  Population Health management solutions will occupy an increasingly important role in the way care is delivered.
  8. Price transparency- addressing total costs of care. Increasing price transparency -either through legislation or through market-making apps, will force healthcare payers to go for non-traditional partnerships to reduce total costs of care. 
  9. Healthier Population.There are several factors at play when we say we will see a healthier population in 2018. Increased copays and deductibles could force youngsters to adopt a healthier lifestyle. We could see a significant push for preventive care by healthcare payers who are getting more involved in the health of their members. Additionally, a rise in peer pressure and awareness for a healthy lifestyle and medical devices could be another indicator. For these reasons, we are confident that America will see a significantly healthier population in 2018. 
  10. Increasing demand for Therapy Services. The Opioid Crisis has sparked a national debate. With as many as 150 estimated drug overdoses each day, we anticipate more regulations coming to opioid prescription drug distribution. We could also see services such as rehabilitation, behavioral, and occupational health therapy to rise in 2018.